Jesus Christ – The Mighty God

More OT Evidence for the Deity of the Messiah

Sam Shamoun

One of the most powerful witnesses to the Deity of the Messiah is Isaiah 9:6-7, a text written nearly eight hundred years before the birth of the Lord Jesus. The prophet Isaiah says that a child will be born who is none other than the Mighty God coming to rule on David’s throne forever!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God (El Gibbor), Everlasting Father (Abi Ad), Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7

What makes this all the more amazing is that Isaiah takes every one of these titles and applies them to the one true God Yahweh:

"In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God." Isaiah 10:20-21

"O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, For You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth." Isaiah 25:1 NKJV

"All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom." Isaiah 28:29

"For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’" Isaiah 57:15 NKJV

"But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." Isaiah 63:16

And even though the title Prince, Sar, is not used of God in Isaiah it is found in Daniel 8:11, 25:

"It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low... He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power."

The phrase, "Prince of princes," is simply another way of saying that Yahweh is the God of gods or Lord of lords:

"For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes." Deuteronomy 10:17

"Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever." Psalm 136:2-3

Amazingly, the title "Lord of lords" is used for the Lord Jesus in the NT writings since he is the sovereign Ruler over all those who reign, whether in the heavenly places or on the earth!

"I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen." 1 Timothy 6:13-16 NASB

"Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth." Revelation 1:5

"They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." Revelation 17:14

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Revelation 19:16

Moreover, the title "Prince of Peace" denotes the One who brings or ushers in permanent peace, being the Author of peace, precisely what Isaiah says concerning Yahweh.

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." Isaiah 26:3

"LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us." Isaiah 26:12

"I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things." Isaiah 45:7

"'For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,' Says the LORD who has compassion on you." Isaiah 54:10

"'For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him And to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,' Says the LORD, 'And I will heal him.' But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 'There is no peace,' Says my God, 'for the wicked.'" Isaiah 57:16-21 NKJV

"For this is what the LORD says: 'I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.'" Isaiah 66:12

And what the NT states regarding the Lord Jesus:

"Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called 'uncircumcised' by those who call themselves 'the circumcision' (that done in the body by the hands of men)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near." Ephesians 2:11-17

"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— " Colossians 1:19-22

By using every one of the Messianic titles of Isaiah 9:6 for the one true God Yahweh, the prophet leaves absolutely no doubt that he was identifying the birth of the child as the human appearance, the very incarnation of Yahweh God Almighty.

Isaiah also believed that the Messianic King would bear the sins of the people by dying as a sacrifice to God:

"See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him — his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness — so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:1-12

There are two indications that this Servant is the Messiah. First, the Servant will be highly exalted and lifted up, implying that God will enthrone him next to himself since this is the same language that Isaiah uses for Yahweh’s exaltation:

"The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled) … The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear." Isaiah 2:11-12, 17-18

Seeing that Isaiah has already mentioned that the Messiah rules forever as the Mighty God this seems to strongly support that he is this very Servant who is exalted with Yahweh.

Interestingly, even the Quran teaches that Allah exalted Jesus to himself:

And (remember) when Allah said: "O 'Iesa (Jesus)! I will take you and raise you to Myself and clear you [of the forged statement that 'Iesa (Jesus) is Allah's son] of those who disbelieve, and I will make those who follow you (Monotheists, who worship none but Allah) superior to those who disbelieve … till the Day of Resurrection. Then you will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matters in which you used to dispute." S. 3:55 Hilal-Khan

But Allah raised him ['Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise. S. 4:158 Hilali-Khan

Moreover, Isaiah uses exactly the same language to describe Yahweh being seated on his throne:

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.’" Isaiah 6:1-5

This further supports the fact that Yahweh is exalting the Servant to sit alongside of him on the throne.

Second, the Servant is said to come out of a dry root in 53:2, a term used by Isaiah elsewhere in reference to the Branch from Jesse, the father of David:

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD - and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked… In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious. In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea." Isaiah 11:1-4, 10

The Branch and Root of Jesse is the One who rules on David’s throne, i.e. the Messiah, indicating that the Root of Isaiah 53:2 is none other than the Messianic Ruler.

And just in case a Muslim tries to squirm his/her way out of this and deny that Isaiah 9:6-7 or Isaiah 53 are Messianic texts by appealing to orthodox Jews to prove that they are not, here are a couple of rabbinic quotes for good measure:

The prophet saith to the house of David, A child has been born to us, a son has been given to us; and he has taken the law upon himself to keep it, and his name has been called from of old, Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, He who lives forever, the Anointed One (or Messiah), in whose days peace shall increase upon us. (The Targum of Isaiah, J.F. Stenning, Editor and Translator [Oxford: Clarendon], p. 32; bold emphasis ours)

Another explanation: He said to him: ‘I have yet to raise up the Messiah’ of whom it is written, For a child is born to us (Isa. IX, 5). (Midrash Rabbah Deuteronomy, Rabbi H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, Editors; Rev. Dr. J. Rabbinowitz, Translator [London: Soncino Press], I.20, p. 20)

Behold my servant. Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong: as the house of Israel looked to him through many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peopled, and their complexion beyond the sons of men. (Targum Jonathan, 2nd Century A.D.)

The Messiah--what is his name? … The rabbis say, the leprous one; those of the house of Rabbi say, the sick one, as it is said, "Surely he hath borne our sickness." (The Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98b, 500 A.D.)

He is speaking of King Messiah: "Come hither" draw near to the throne "and dip thy morsel in the vinegar," this refers to the chastisements, as it is said, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities." (Ruth 2:14 commentary from The Midrash Rabbah, 6th Century A.D.)

Source for the last two quotes: 1, 2

Renowned Messianic Jewish Scholar Dr. Michael L. Brown writes:

"The oldest Jewish translation of Isaiah 9:6[5], found in the Septuagint, understands all the names as referring to the king, rendering this verse into the Greek as follows: ‘For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder: and his name is called the Messenger of great counsel [Megale he arche]: for I will bring peace on the princes, and health to him.’ The Targum, while explicitly identifying this as a Messianic prophecy, renders the verse in Aramaic with an interesting twist, ‘... and his name is called from before the One who is wonderful in counsel, the mighty God who exists forever, the Messiah, because there will be abundant peace upon us in his days’ (translated literally). The problem with this translation, aside from the fact that it is grammatically strained, is that almost all the names are heaped on God, and only the last two are given to the son - although it is the naming of this royal child that is central to the verse. How odd! Clearly, the names refer to the son, not to the Lord who gave them. In other words, the Targumic rendering would be like saying, ‘And God - the great, glorious, holy, wonderful, eternal, unchangeable Redeemer and King and Lord - calls his name Joe.’ There is no precedent or parallel to this anywhere in the Bible and no logical explanation for this rendering, nor is it even a natural, grammatical rendering of the Hebrew. The characteristics of the royal child are central - highlighted here by his names - not the characteristics of the Lord. As the brilliant Hebrew and Rabbinic scholar Franz Delitzsch noted, even Samuel David Luzzato, one of the greatest Italian rabbis, rightly observed that ‘you do not expect to find attributes of God here, but such as would be characteristic of the child.’ This agrees with the Talmudic and midrashic writings, along with the comments of Abraham Ibn Ezra, all of which state that the names refer to the child." (Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus – Messianic Prophecy Objections [Baker Books, Grand Rapid MI, 2003], Volume Three, pp. 32-33; bold emphasis ours)

Brown writes in fn. 86 that,

"… Cf. the following Rabbinic statements: ‘R. Yose the Galilean said: "The name of the Messiah is Peace, for it is said, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"’ (Midrash Pereq Shalom, p. 101); ‘The Messiah is called by eight names; Yinnon [see Ps. 72:12], Tzemach [e.g., Jer. 23:5]; Pele’ [Wonderful, Isa. 9:6(5)], Yo’etz [Counselor, Isa. 9:6(5)], Mashiach [Messiah], El [God, Isa. 9:6(5)], Gibbor [Hero, Isa. 9:6(5)], and Avi ‘Ad Shalom [Eternal Father of Peace, Isa. 9:6(5)];’ see Deuteronomy Rabbah 1:20." (Ibid. p. 210)

The great medieval commentator Abraham Ibn Ezra, despite applying the passage to Hezekiah, nonetheless admits that all of these names are titles of the child in question:

"The correct view in my opinion is that all these are names of the child. pele’ – because the Lord did wonders in his days. yo’ets – such was Hezekiah [as it is written], ‘And the king took counsel’ [see 2 Chron. 30:2]; ’el gibbor – because he was strong, and the kingdom of the house of David was prolonged because of him; [abi] ‘ad – the word has the same meaning as ‘dwelling in eternity’ [in Isa. 57:15]; sar shalom – because there was peace in his days." (Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus – Theological Objections [Baker Books, Grand Rapids MI 2000], Volume 2, p. 46; bold emphasis ours)

This candid admission clearly rules out Hezekiah from being the one spoken of, unless one wants to believe that he was the Mighty God in human flesh!

Finally, section nine of the Huppat Eliyahu and section 7 of Rabbeinu HaKadosh in Otsar Midrashim applies all these names to the Messiah.

The Messiah as the Arm of Yahweh

In Isaiah 53 the Messianic Servant is further identified as the very Arm of Yahweh sent to atone for and procure the redemption of God's covenant people:

"Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? HE [the Arm of the LORD] grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. HE [the Arm of the LORD] had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. " Isaiah 53:1-2

This provides additional corroboration that the Messiah is God Almighty since "Arm" is a metaphor for Yahweh's infinite and eternal Power which he uses to accomplish his purposes, just as the following texts indicate:

"O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for thee. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble." Isaiah 33:2

"My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait." Isaiah 51:5

"The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." Isaiah 52:10

"Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was NO MAN, and wondered that there was NO ONE to intervene; then HIS OWN ARM brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him. He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as a mantle. According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render requital. So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the LORD. And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD: my spirit which is upon you, and my words which I have put n your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your children, or out of the mouth of your children's children, says the LORD, from this time forth and for evermore." Isaiah 59:15-21

"Who is this that comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he that is glorious in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? 'It is I, announcing vindication, mighty to save.' Why is thy apparel red, and thy garments like his that treads in the wine press? 'I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my raiment. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption has come. I looked, but there was NO ONE to help; I was appalled, but there was NO ONE to uphold; so MY OWN ARM brought me victory, and my wrath upheld me. I trod down the peoples in my anger, I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth." Isaiah 63:1-6

The foregoing indicates that by calling the Servant "the Arm of Yahweh" the inspired prophet was basically saying that the Messiah is the visible manifestation of God's own Power sent to redeem his people by his death on their behalf. In other words, the phrase Arm of Yahweh implies that the Messianic Servant is an intrinsic part of God's very own eternal Being, since he is his very own eternal Power!

Isaiah was simply anticipating what the NT writers would later say concerning Jesus being God's own Power who came to bring salvation:

"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of Godbut we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24

Is the Messiah God the Father?

In order to deny the explicit witness that Isaiah 9:6 provides concerning the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ some Muslims have come up with some fanciful responses.

For instance, Muslims assert that if this is a Messianic text then Jesus must be the Father since he is called "Everlasting Father." Yet if he is the Father then the Trinity must be false since the doctrine teaches that Jesus is not the Father.

The problem with this argument is that it commits the fallacy of equivocation, assuming that the term "Father" carries the same meaning at all times. Yet we know from the Holy Bible that "Father" can carry a whole range of meanings as the following examples clearly demonstrate:

"‘I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father.’ ‘Abraham is our father,’ they answered. ‘If you were Abraham's children,’ said Jesus, ‘then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.’ ‘We are not illegitimate children,’ they protested. ‘The only Father we have is God himself.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.’" John 8:38-42

In this passage both God and Abraham are said to be the F/father of the Jews. Therefore, applying the logic of the Muslims at this point we would end up with Abraham being God the Father!

"And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring-not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: 'I have made you a father of many nations.' He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed - the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were." Romans 4:11-17

Again, applying the Muslim argument we would once again have to conclude that Abraham is God the Father since he is said to be the father of all believers. This means that Paul is also God the Father as well:

"I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel." 1 Corinthians 4:14-15

In light of the preceding examples the readers can see that the term "Father" can mean different things in different contexts. For instance, the word can mean Source, Creator and/or Author as the following citations prove:

"But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." Isaiah 63:16

Here, God is referred to as Father in his role as Israel's Redeemer. Hence, the term in this context refers to God as the One who protects his people much like a father protects his children.

"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8

"Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?" Malachi 2:10

The expression Father in these passages means that God is the Creator or Life-giver.

With the foregoing in perspective the Lord Jesus is called Everlasting Father in the sense that he is both the Source and Giver of eternal life, the One who cares for and preserves his people. This understanding bears out in light of the fact that the literal Hebrew phrase in Isaiah 9:6 is not "Everlasting Father," but "Father of Eternity" (Hebrew, Abi Ad). As Dr. Robert A. Morey noted:

"In the Hebrew the word 'Father is first and then follows the word ‘eternal.’ How to translate these words is difficult. Some translations are:

‘Father of futurity’ Rotherham
‘Father of the world to come’ Knox
‘Father of eternity’ Hengstenberg, Plumptre, Young
‘the Father of the age’ Calvin
‘Eternal Father’ Hengstenberg
‘The Giver of eternal life’ Alexander

"After a great deal of research on the many issues involved, we have translated... as ‘Father of eternal life.’ Calvin correctly pointed out, ‘The name Father is put for Author.’

"The word… ‘father’ thus does not mean the One who possesses eternity but the One who gives it to others. The word... ‘eternal’ is not the normal word for absolute eternity. Thus, we conclude that it means that the Son of God will be the Author of eternal life for those who believe in Him." (Morey, Trinity – Evidence and Issues [World Bible Publishers, Inc., Iowa Falls, IA 1996], Chapter Eleven. God The Son, pp. 184-185 bold emphasis ours)

This is precisely the picture the NT gives of the Lord Jesus Christ, namely that he is the Source of eternal life, the One who sustains his people forever, being the Head of a new creation:

"In him was life, and that life was the light of men." John 1:4

"Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’" John 6:35-40

"‘But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’ … Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.’" John 6:50-51, 53-58

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.’" John 10:27-30

"Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she told him, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.’" John 11:23-27

"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.’" John 17:1-2

"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." Romans 5:15-19

"You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this." Acts 3:14-15

"who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." 2 Timothy 1:9-10

"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the Author of their salvation perfect through suffering." Hebrews 2:10

"Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey him." Hebrews 5:8-9

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

Thus, Jesus is not God the Father, but God the Son who gives life and preserves his flock for ever and ever.

What about the other so-called mighty gods?

Further attempts have been made by Muslim propagandists to deny that Isaiah 9:6 identifies the Messiah as the Mighty God. One such Muslim neophyte is Sam Zaatari who, in his desperation, appeals to the eisegesis of Unitarian "Christians" to argue that El Gibbor really means "Mighty Hero"! (*)

For instance, Zaatari’s source appeals to Ezekiel 31:11 and 32:12 to show where the word El Gibbor (as well as its plural) is used in relation to others. Here, Zaatari seems to be mistaken since Ezekiel 31:11 does not use El Gibbor but simply El.

"I will give it into the hand of a mighty one (el) of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out." Ezekiel 31:11

He must have also meant Ezekiel 32:21, not 12 since this latter verse uses the word gibborim, not eley gibborim which is the plural form of El Gibbor.

By appealing to these passages Muslims such as Zaatari think that they have found a way of refuting the doctrine of the Trinity and the OT witness to the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus.

Yet there are several problems with this desperate approach, not the least of which is just because there may be other so-called mighty gods this doesn’t necessarily mean that Isaiah was placing the Messiah in this same category. Muslims are assuming that the prophet was simply calling the Messiah a mighty one as opposed to identifying this Davidic King as the human appearance of Yahweh God. This is simply a non-sequitor since it does not follow that the Messiah is not Yahweh simply because there are others who are called mighty gods. After all, would we assume that Yahweh is also in this same category of mighty gods seeing that he, too, is called the Mighty God? Of course not.

Second, these so-called mighty gods are the gentile leaders and kings of the nations, as the surrounding context shows:

"In the twelfth year, in the twelfth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, wail over the multitude of Egypt, and send them down, her and the daughters of majestic nations, to the world below, to those who have gone down to THE PIT: Whom do you surpass in beauty? Go down and be laid to rest with the uncircumcised.’ They shall fall amid those who are slain by the sword. Egypt is delivered to the sword; drag her away, and all her multitudes. The mighty chiefs (eley gibborim) shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: ‘They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’ Assyria is there, and all her company, its graves all around it, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, whose graves are set in the uttermost parts of THE PIT; and her company is all around her grave, all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who spread terror in the land of the living. Elam is there, and all her multitude around her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, who went down uncircumcised into the world below, who spread their terror in the land of the living; and they bear their shame with those who go down to THE PIT. They have made her a bed among the slain with all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for terror of them was spread in the land of the living, and they bear their shame with those who go down to THE PIT; they are placed among the slain. Meshech-Tubal is there, and all her multitude, her graves all around it, all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword; for they spread their terror in the land of the living. And they do not lie with THE MIGHTY (giborim), THE FALLEN FROM AMONG THE UNCIRCUMCISED, who went down to Sheol with their weapons of war, whose swords were laid under their heads, and whose iniquities are upon their bones; for the terror of the MIGHTY MEN (giborim) was in the land of the living. But as for you, you shall be broken and lie among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword. Edom is there, her kings and all her princes, who for all their might are laid with those who are killed by the sword; they lie with the uncircumcised, with those who go down to THE PIT. The princes of the north are there, all of them, and all the Sidonians, who have gone down in shame with the slain, for all the terror that they caused by their might; they lie uncircumcised with those who are slain by the sword, and bear their shame with those who go down to THE PIT. When Pharaoh sees them, he will be comforted for all his multitude, Pharaoh and all his army, slain by the sword, declares the Lord GOD. For I spread terror in the land of the living; and he shall be laid to rest among the uncircumcised, with those who are slain by the sword, Pharaoh and all his multitude, declares the Lord GOD.’" Ezekiel 32:17-32

From the preceding context we can see that this refers to the fall of Pharaoh to the grave where the dead heathen kings are.

With this in mind the one point that the readers need to remember is that the inspired Scriptures speak out against viewing mere human rulers as gods of any kind. Note, for instance, what Ezekiel says concerning the king of Tyre:

"The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god (el), I sit in the seat of the gods (elohim), in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but A MAN, and NO god (el), though you make your heart like the heart of a god- you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has become proud in your wealth- therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god (elohim), therefore, behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They shall thrust you down into THE PIT, and you shall die the death of the slain in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, ‘I am a god (elohim),’ in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but A MAN, and NO god (el), in the hands of those who slay you? You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, declares the Lord GOD."’" Ezekiel 28:1-10

Yahweh rebukes a gentile king for thinking that he was a god when in fact he was nothing more than a mere man.

The prophet Isaiah himself rebukes gentile kings such as the king of Babylon for believing that they were gods:

"When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: ‘How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution. The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, "Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us." Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were LEADERS OF THE EARTH; it raises from their thrones all who were KINGS OF THE NATIONS. All of them will answer and say to you: "You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!" Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to SHEOL, to the far reaches of the pit. Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: "Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert And overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?" All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb;’" Isaiah 14:3-18

God destroys the Babylonian ruler for thinking that he could be like God, and even brings him down to the pit to be where the other heathen kings dwell. Babylon is further rebuked elsewhere in Isaiah for claiming the very prerogatives of Yahweh:

"… Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children’: These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, ‘No one sees me’; Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’" Isaiah 47:8-10

Assyria was another nation which was chastised for thinking that it too was a god:

"And he will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert. Herds shall lie down in her midst, all kinds of beasts; even the owl and the hedgehog shall lodge in her capitals; a voice shall hoot in the window; devastation will be on the threshold; for her cedar work will be laid bare. This is the exultant city that lived securely, that said in her heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else.’ What a desolation she has become, a lair for wild beasts! Everyone who passes by her hisses and shakes his fist." Zephaniah 2:13-15


"Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: ‘Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! Thus says the king: "Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will deliver us.’ Has any of the gods of the nations DELIVERED his land OUT OF THE HAND of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria OUT OF MY HANDS? Who among all the gods of these lands have DELIVERED their lands OUT OF MY HAND, that the LORD should DELIVER Jerusalem OUT OF MY HAND?"’" Isaiah 36:13-20


"The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, ‘He has set out to fight against you.’ And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, ‘Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: "Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?"’" Isaiah 37:8-13

Now notice God’s response to Hezekiah’s prayer concerning the taunts of the Assyrian army:

"Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD:O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, YOU ALONE, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that YOU ALONE are the LORD’… Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David. And the angel of the LORD went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword. And after they escaped into the land of Ararat, Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place." Isaiah 37:14-20, 33-38

Hezekiah beseeches Yahweh to save his people from the Assyrians in order to show that he alone is God. This indicates that, as far as the biblical writers are concerned, there are no other gods which exist alongside Yahweh.

In light of the foregoing it seems evident that Ezekiel 32:21 and 31:11 are not saying that these heathen rulers were actually gods, albeit in a lesser sense than Yahweh. Nor are the terms being used metaphorically to denote rulers who were mighty, as Zaatari’s source erroneously assumes. From the overall context of the inspired Scriptures we can safely conclude that these gentile kings are ironically and sarcastically called gods, e.g. they are rulers who were wrongly considered gods by the peoples and yet died a humiliating and shameful death, dying like any other mere mortal.

This is completely unlike the context of Isaiah 9 where an inspired prophet gives the child the very titles of God himself as an indication of his character and rule.

Moreover, Zaatari’s anti-Trinitarian source conveniently turns to the book of Ezekiel while ignoring the fact that Isaiah uses the exact phrase El Gibbor in 10:21 in reference to the one true God, Yahweh. Thus, if this phrase means "Mighty Hero" then Isaiah is identifying both Yahweh and the Messiah as this one Mighty Hero who defends and fights for God’s people. After all, the Messiah is El Gibbor in the same sense that Yahweh is since he is given all of the very titles which Isaiah applies in other places to God, even though the prophet emphatically stresses the point that there is only one true God (El, Elohim):

"‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.’" Isaiah 43:10-11

"This is what the LORD says— Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let him foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." Isaiah 44:6-8

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other… Declare what is to be, present it— let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me." Isaiah 45:5-6, 21

"Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will to all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." Isaiah 46:9-11

Hence, the Messiah is not a mighty god like the heathen kings, but is THE Mighty God in the same sense that Yahweh is since he is Yahweh God incarnate. A careful examination of the entire context of Isaiah, as well as the overall context of the Scriptures, proves this beyond any reasonable doubt.

Zaatari then says:

No Jew ever believed that the Messiah would be God, and no where in the context of Isaiah chapter 9 is such a doctrine taught.

Talk about begging the question and of committing a hasty generalization! No Jew ever believed that the Messiah is God? Really? What about the Jewish followers of Jesus such as John and Paul, both of whom expressly taught that Jesus is God Almighty? What about the thousands of Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians etc. who do believe in the Trinity and in the perfect Deity of the Lord Jesus?

And since Zaatari is appealing to the Jews to prove his position will he accept the fact that rabbinic or orthodox Judaism believes that the Messiah is an eternal King who ushers in the last age? If so then Muhammad must have been a false prophet for affirming that Jesus is the Messiah while denying the significance this has on his Person and work. For more on this subject we recommend the following articles:

Articles by Sam Shamoun
Rebuttals to Sami Zaatari
Answering Islam Home Page